Departments of Public Administration and Colleges of Business Administration: Allies or Aliens?

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1 Departments of Public Administration and Colleges of Business Administration: Allies or Aliens? Lauren N. Bowman and James R. Thompson University of Illinois Chicago Abstract With many universities facing pressures to economize, proposals for the restructuring and consolidation of academic units have become common. Departments of public administration are particularly susceptible to such maneuvers, given the interdisciplinary nature of the field and the absence of consensus over the best structural configuration for the departments. One configuration that has attracted the attention of university administrators is the co-location of departments of public administration and those related to business administration. Yet, little research is available on the implications of this structural arrangement for public administration programs. This paper reviews the experiences of public administration programs that are currently located in business schools as well as those that have left business schools. The authors identify multiple advantages and disadvantages of this arrangement as well as the impediments to a successful partnership. They also present two models that illustrate commonly found configurations. Since the early years of public administration (PA) as a discipline, scholars have posed various fundamental questions about everything from the identity of the field to the research topics that are most vital to the field s advancement. With no consensus on answers, these questions recur with some regularity while other less rarefied topics remain unexamined. One issue that has not been explored in depth is the location of public administration programs within university structures. A review of program location reveals that, of the programs accredited by NASPAA (National Association of Schools of Public Affairs and Administration) in the United States, 54 are currently located in schools or colleges of public affairs, 14 in colleges or schools of business, and 72 in other colleges or schools (such as Keywords: public administration, pedagogy, public-private, business school JPAE 19(2), Journal of Public Affairs Education 239

2 L. N. Bowman & J. R. Thompson arts and sciences). These numbers change over time as university structures evolve, a process that has been accelerated due to financial strains associated with the economic recession. Public universities in particular are facing reduced government support and many have consolidated programs and colleges in a quest for greater efficiency (Wiseman, 2011). As restructuring efforts become more widespread, it becomes important to understand the ramifications of these new arrangements for individual programs. In this paper, we seek to better understand the possible consequences of one particular structure, the inclusion of public administration programs in business schools. This configuration is of particular interest because business schools provide a logical new home for public administration programs that are displaced due to restructuring efforts. This configuration is also of interest in light of the expansion of public-private contacts coincident with the shift toward network governance (Kettl, 2002). The new model features collaborative arrangements between government agencies and for-profit as well as nonprofit entities in the delivery of service. For-profit entities, for example, now operate correctional institutions as well as public schools in some jurisdictions (Goldsmith & Eggers, 2004). This growing interdependence highlights the need for research into factors and considerations that facilitate mutually beneficial public-private engagement, particularly in light of recent partnerships that have come to unfortunate ends. 1 Such research, as well as research into related phenomena including economic development and the private funding of public infrastructure, could benefit from the co-location of faculties from the public and business administration disciplines. This article reports the results of an investigation into the experiences of public administration programs that are currently in business schools as well as those of public administration programs that have left business schools. Our focus is on whether and to what extent members of the public administration faculty perceive being part of a business school as advantageous to their welfare and that of their program. The research questions that drove our inquiry are presented subsequent to a review of trends governing the location of public administration programs within university structures. Whither Public Administration? The appropriate location of public administration as a discipline has long been a matter of contention. When the study of public administration migrated out of municipal research bureaus into a university setting, many programs were initially located in departments of political science and remained there throughout the 1950s and early 1960s (Ingraham & Zuck, 1996). By the early 1950s, of the 105 universities offering public administration courses, 68 housed them in political science departments, 16 were in research institutes, and 6 were housed in other schools (the rest were subject to other, varied institutional arrange ments; Ingraham & Zuck, 1996). However, public administration s political science roots 240 Journal of Public Affairs Education

3 PA Departments and Business Schools: Allies or Aliens? became attenuated after the field expanded to include ideas drawn from disci plines such as psychology, economics, and sociology (Frederickson & Smith, 2003). By the late 1960s, a movement emerged advocating generic administration, a perspective based on the belief that overarching aspects of administration span all institutional settings including public, private, and nonprofit organizations (L. Henry, 1975). Well-known public administration and business scholars wrote about generic administration as a path for progress in administrative studies and suggested that schools of generic administration would provide the best incubators for knowledge growth in this area (Litchfield, 1956; Yoon, 1968). Litchfield distilled this rationale rather succinctly in an article in Administrative Science Quarterly by arguing that theory had failed to achieve a desirable degree of generalization that could account for similar administrative issues occurring in different settings. The author also lamented that structure was to blame, as it had made a general theory more difficult of attainment by developing separate schools in these fields in our universities (1956, p. 7). Some universities responded to such arguments by creating schools of generic administration including public administration. Henry s history of NASPAA provides some insight into the rise of generic schools of management (N. Henry, 1995): On several campuses, public administration graduate programs were being organized in, or reorganized into, combined professional schools, where they almost invariably became the junior partners. Particularly threatening to the public administration programs in such situations was a strong movement for accreditation of business schools through the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). A number of leading business school deans proposed that AACSB standards and accreditation reviews include the public administration programs in the combined schools. For the most part, however, these schools did not last (Frederickson & Smith, 2003). The only real generic school of administration still in existence is the Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University. L. Henry (1975) points to a lack of consideration for the distinctly public aspect of public administration as the death knell of generic schools of administration. Schools of business administration replaced many of these schools; and though some continued to house public administration, they abandoned the pretense that administration is similar across sectors. With the view that political science should be the disciplinary home of public administration programs in universities no longer widely held and the short-lived turn toward generic administration mostly dead, public administration programs no longer had an agreed-upon place within the American university structure. Public administration programs were instead dispersed throughout a variety of Journal of Public Affairs Education 241

4 L. N. Bowman & J. R. Thompson colleges such as arts and sciences, public affairs, or business. At the same time, the Master of Business Administration (MBA) was gaining ground as the central degree in American business schools (Pfeffer & Fong, 2002). The argument for co-locating the MPA and MBA programs relied on their dual focus on administration as well as their professional orientation. Our purpose is to better understand the dynamics surrounding the relationships between the two programs as well as between the departments they are part of. Methods and Data To better understand the advantages and disadvantages for departments of public administration of being located within schools of business administration, interviews were conducted with individuals who have participated in those arrangements. 2 The initial protocol called for interviews with three representatives from each school, the current or former dean of the business school, the head of the business administration program, and the head of the public administration program. Some deans and heads of business administration were not willing to take part in the study; where appropriate, we relied instead on snowball sampling to locate additional participants. The participants were chosen from NASPAA-accredited master of public administration programs that are currently located in business schools or were located in business schools but have left since We interviewed participants from a total of 12 institutions, eight with public administration programs that are currently located in business schools and four that were previously in business schools. The public administration programs included in the study are geographically diverse, representing universities located across the United States. The participating programs represent all NASPAA-defined size categories, from 0 50 students to students. The full population of schools that participants were drawn from is listed in Table 1. Although 15 of our 19 interviews were with public administration faculty, we were able to gain the cooperation of two business faculty and two deans of colleges with combined programs. Of the 12 institutions represented in the study, we interviewed the current or former head of the public administration department at 11. Our premise was that because of their position, these individuals were best positioned to assess the relationship between their unit and the rest of the college. Where appropriate, we reviewed school and program websites to confirm the validity of information provided by participants, such as the existence of joint academic programs and the respective sizes of the business and public administration faculty. Semi-structured telephone interviews were conducted in August, September, and October of 2011 and were later coded using computer software to systematically identify recurring themes. Some participants provided supplemental materials to augment the information provided in the course of their interviews. 242 Journal of Public Affairs Education

5 PA Departments and Business Schools: Allies or Aliens? Table 1. Public Administration Programs Currently or Previously Located in a Business School Public Administration Programs Currently Located in Business Schools Brigham Young University** Louisiana State University** U of Missouri Kansas City CSU Bakersfield CSU San Bernardino CSU Dominguez Hills University of North Dakota University of La Verne Old Dominion University Governors State University Suffolk University** Kean University Long Island University Brooklyn Willamette University* Public Administration Programs Formerly Located in a Business School Northern Kentucky University of Arizona University of New Mexico Ohio State University University of Nevada Las Vegas University of Louisville George Washington University City University of New York Baruch College University of Maine Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus Note. Includes only NASPAA-accredited programs. * Offers an MBA with a specialization in public administration ** Has some degree of structural autonomy Findings The research was guided by the following questions (see Appendix A for a complete list of interview questions): What are the areas of compatibility and incompatibility between depart ments of public administration and colleges of business administration? What are the advantages and disadvantages for a department of public administration of being located within a college of business? Are there systemic impediments to a harmonious relationship between departments of public administration and colleges of business administration? How can adverse aspects of the arrangement be mitigated/how can positive advantage of the arrangement be taken? Journal of Public Affairs Education 243

6 L. N. Bowman & J. R. Thompson Areas of Compatibility Multiple areas of compatibility between business and public administration programs, many of them centered on course content and teaching method, were identified. Although there is a great deal of literature outlining their differences, business and public administration are substantively similar in many respects. Both public and business administration students learn about management, including topics such as personnel management, organization behavior, innovative management techniques, and information technology. Interviewees from both public and business administration acknowledged these compatibilities. A participant from an MBA program in a business school that currently houses a public administration program commented on how public administration faculty are able to work with accounting faculty to produce course content: We have for instance accounting for nonprofits. We work with the public administration people on that. So public and not-for-profit finance, not-for-profit accounting and control we work together on it. An emphasis on practical skills also provides a level of consonance between public administration and business coursework (Ventriss, 1991). In his analysis, Wooldridge (1987) notes that both private and public workers need well-developed management skills. Because the subject matter being taught is similar, public administration students can take business courses that are skill oriented, and vice versa. Wooldridge (1987) also notes that the need to impart management skills to public administration students qualifies such programs as professional education, as distinct from more academic pursuits such as in the humanities. A participant from a public administration program that was once located in a business school highlighted this shared orientation toward training professionals: I would say there were several things that made having public administration in a business school positive. One was the emphasis was on professional programs like an MBA and MGA [Master of Governmental Administration] or a masters in accounting. The professional ethic of higher education was shared. Another participant from a public administration program that is currently located in a business school characterized business and public administration programs similarly, saying they have a heavy emphasis on applied, pragmatic, skill-based learning in almost every class. Both business and public administration also engage in similar styles of pedagogy. A PA-based participant from a program that has moved out of a business school noted: The mode of pedagogy was similar, case studies, group projects, clientbased projects, and that sort of thing were very common in business schools as they would be in public administration but not necessarily in political science or in an arts and sciences domain. 244 Journal of Public Affairs Education

7 PA Departments and Business Schools: Allies or Aliens? Notwithstanding these compatibilities, we did not find a significant degree of course sharing. We had expected that MPA and MBA programs located within the same college would benefit by having students take each other s courses, particularly on subjects where sectoral context is of little consequence for example, regarding the use of technology in the workplace and operations research. However, we found little such crossover at the schools included in the study. In part this was due to a simple preference by faculties on both sides to control their own curriculum. For example, one interviewee commented, There s always some sense of, I m not sure that I want your people teaching my people. In addition, interviewees commented that even with topics that were not overtly sector specific, the cases and examples employed were generally from the sector that the instructor was affiliated with. One public administration faculty member commented: For example, in some of the basic accounting courses or even some of the basic management courses, the cases, the examples that were used tended to come out of business. They had very little relevance to the students who were on the public administration side. Then if they were public administration examples, the business students balked. Though we found little student crossover, we did find instances of public administration faculty teaching ethics courses for both business and public administration students. Areas of Incompatibility Although compatibilities are mostly concentrated in the areas of teaching and coursework, incompatibilities tend to span many aspects of academic life. One major incompatibility relates to the role of government: Government is seen by many business faculty as hostile to the essential enterprise of business and to the free market in general. Considering the emphasis in the business literature on profitability and on the cost of government regulation and in the public administration literature on concerns such as equity and democracy, this view is not entirely unexpected (Allison, 1992; Ira, 2009; Leone, 1977; Martin & Lodge, 1975). This difference was widely cited by PA-affiliated interviewees. 3 One participant from a public administration program that left a business school connected this difference in viewpoint to larger trends in the United States: Business school folks don t view government service in the same way as government service people do. Of course, we re seeing that nationally now where there seems to be a concerted effort to do in the public sector. This divergence in outlook can also affect the attitudes of MPA students toward the programs they are part of. A PA-based participant currently in a school of business administration lamented losing students to business pursuits: Journal of Public Affairs Education 245

8 L. N. Bowman & J. R. Thompson In the business school with the public management program, a lot of students were initially interested in it and the program recruited a lot of students but then they got there and the culture said, this is silly, this is a lower valued activity, and so you get this cultural notion that it is a lower valued activity... and that is what the faculty focuses on, it is what they value, and students value making money. The size and wealth of the donor base is another area of incompatibility between business and public administration. Participants from public administration programs expressed concerns about differences in fund-raising capacity. Research reveals that business programs receive more donations from alumni than any other program on campus (Okunade, Wunnava, & Walsh, Jr., 1994). As a result, public administration is sometimes viewed as failing to make equal contributions to the school s coffers while nevertheless benefiting from the school s wealth. Also, external funding in the form of research grants is accorded less importance in business schools than in public administration, where faculty often rely on such grants to fund research. A participant whose public administration program is currently located in a business school provided an example of how grants are not valued in business schools: Here at the business school they don t believe that getting grants is important. They had a candidate who I thought was just sterling and actually did get tenure, but they had a fit because this person had a huge NSF grant. [It is] beyond my imagination they would have a fit, but they did. Well, grants are not relevant in business schools from either government sources or an academy or from a foundation. They are relevant in public administration in many cases. Business faculty rely less on grants than do public administration faculty, in part because they receive research support from their schools. One PA-based participant in a program currently located in a business school supports this explanation: I don t know of anybody that s ever been turned down for a legitimate project. And most of that money comes from the school of management, not the university. Lastly, MPA programs tend to be much smaller than their business counterparts in terms of class size and number of faculty; this situation sometimes results in animosity between faculties when public administration faculty do not seem bear their share of the student load. One participant from a public administration program that left a business school pointed to disparate teaching loads as contributing to tension between the faculties: The disparities in class sizes and enrollments really created some frustration not on the public administration side but on the business side, like, you don t really teach as many students as we do, or you don t have as heavy a load as we do. 246 Journal of Public Affairs Education

9 PA Departments and Business Schools: Allies or Aliens? Public administration programs that left business schools generally did so on their own volition, citing some mix of the following four reasons for the move: (a) a shift of resources out of public administration for use by the business side; (b) a lack of support from the dean; (c) feeling generally unwanted by the business faculty; and (d) being encouraged by NASPAA to seek a more propitious location. Advantages of Being Located Within a College of Business Research participants, both from universities where public administration is currently in the business school and from universities where public administration has left the business school, highlighted various advantages to being located within a business school. 4 One regularly recurring theme was higher salaries for public administration faculty. Interviewees mentioned being able to offer higher salaries as helpful in attracting highly qualified candidates for faculty positions. Specifically, interviewees did not state that salaries for public administration faculty were equivalent to those of business faculty, only that they were higher than if their programs were located, for example, in a college of arts and sciences. The College and University Professional Association for Human Resources survey of faculty salaries supports this finding, reporting that the average salary for an assistant professor of public administration is $56,952, compared to $87,248 for the average assistant professor of business administration. The disparity narrows for associate professors ($69,791 versus $93,767) and full professors ($90,251 versus $111,621; The Profession, 2011). Facilities are also often better for public administration programs located in business schools than for those programs that are not. This finding is supported by research highlighting a trend toward building impressive and often expensive facilities to house business schools (Mangan, 2002). Participants also opined that business schools wield more influence on campus than do other colleges. This situation is supported by Salancik and Pfeffer s (1974) study of subunit power at a Midwestern university. They found that subunits with the most resources and students have the most power on campus. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education (Student Demographics, 2011), business was the most common bachelor s degree awarded in the school year. One participant from a public administration program currently located in a business school described the feeling of power that comes with being in a business school: There is a strong sense of both cachet and importance to what we re doing in the school that carries some substantial weight with the current administration on the campus and to some extent in the city. An interviewee from a public administration program that left a business school conveys a similar sentiment: Being associated with a powerful college as opposed to a college of humanities or a college of liberal arts or college of education, say, there is a certain advantage to being part of one of the heavy players on campus. A student-oriented advantage to being located in a business school is enhanced access to business-related courses notwithstanding our finding, noted earlier, Journal of Public Affairs Education 247

10 L. N. Bowman & J. R. Thompson that in very few locations do students from both programs share core courses. The crossover we found was mostly in the form of students from one program taking occasional electives in the other. Some participants from public administration also reported lower teaching loads because of being affiliated with a business school. As an alternative to competing for faculty on the basis of salary, some business schools are instead offering lower teaching loads; 2 1 or even 1 1 compared to the 2 2 (two courses for each of two semesters) that prevails in most research universities. Thus, a representative from a public administration program that has since left the business school noted that teaching loads had risen from 2 1 to 2 2 consistent with the norm in the college where the program is currently housed. Disadvantages of Being Located Within a College of Business Public administration participants also reported various disadvantages of being located in business schools. One major disadvantage is that, although business schools may be powerful and flush with resources, not all units within a business school are treated equally at the college level. Participants reported that public administration programs located in business schools are generally not accorded equal status due to their smaller size, to the higher prestige accorded an MBA degree, and to the dean s affiliation with the business side. One public administration participant currently in a business school characterized their department s relationship with the rest of the college as follows: There was a feeling that we re seen by some as a second-class citizen within the business school. A participant whose department left the business school described a similar attitude regarding the relative value of public administration, saying, Nor did they think that [MPAs] were worth having, [they thought] that everybody should just get an MBA. The whole school was oriented towards the MBA as the degree. In their article on the state of business school education, James O Toole and Warren G. Bennis s characterization of the MBA as having enjoyed rising respectability in academia and growing prestige in the business world supports the view that the MBA has been a central degree in many universities (O Toole & Bennis, 2005, p. 1). One participant described a feeling that public administration could lose its identity in a school that is so focused on business: I suppose it could happen we never let it but the business view of the world could creep into influencing curriculum, course offerings, and even faculty [in the way you teach a] public policy course. Systemic Impediments to a Harmonious Relationship One major theme that emerged from the interviews was the presence of value differences between business and public administration faculty. One participant from a public administration program that has left a business school explained where these differences were most apparent: 248 Journal of Public Affairs Education

11 PA Departments and Business Schools: Allies or Aliens? Clearly, the business model was highly competitive, very selfinterested, profit-oriented. Those are the kinds of values that were instilled in students.... In public affairs, it s much more consensual, resolving conflicts, negotiating, serving a public interest. The value structures were very incongruent, and I think they got exaggerated with time. Many public administration faculty viewed these differences in values as an obstacle to developing a mutually beneficial relationship with members of the business faculty. One faculty member from a public administration program that left a business school provided an example: One year, one of my colleagues... applied for the deanship when it was open. But a couple of the backstabbers over in the business faculty said really bad things about him, that he d made special deals and gone behind people s backs. Things that weren t true and it really was because he was public sector oriented. Participants from both business and public administration faculties noted a relative lack of research collaboration. In the few instances where faculty did collaborate, the research often involved topics that were cross-sectoral in nature, such as economic development and public-private partnerships. American Association of Colleges and Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation requirements also pose an impediment to harmonious relationships between public administration programs and business schools. A public administration faculty member in a program currently located within a business school commented: We re ignored a lot, because for instance, AACSB accreditation, we re not really included in. So, you know, they don t have to pay attention to us as much as they pay attention to other departments, because in that particular respect, we re not on their radar. Although the requirements outlined by the AACSB are very general, they can work against cohabitation to the extent that the school must ensure that sufficient resources are directed to AACSB-accredited programs. Scherer and colleagues note an increasing importance of accreditation for business schools in a now global and highly competitive market, so that many schools have little choice but to focus on accreditation concerns (Scherer, Javagli, Bryant, & Tukel, 2005). The AASCB guideline titled Adequacy for the Array of Programs states in part, A concern of the accreditation review is to see that the school has sufficient financial support to sustain quality management education programs. This judgment must take into consideration the total constellation of programs the school delivers (AACSB, 2011). In business schools where business Journal of Public Affairs Education 249

12 L. N. Bowman & J. R. Thompson programs such as the MBA are the central concern, such standards can be used to marginalize a public administration program. One participant identified AACSB requirements as an impediment to student crossover: Finally, there s this thing called AACSB, which has, compared to NASPAA, very rigid guidelines, like proportion of non-business students in a class and things of that sort. Accreditation dynamics can affect PA programs located in business schools in at least two ways. The first and most direct way is that NASPAA is not favorably disposed to accredit generic management programs. As noted, we identified only one such program extant, that at the Atkinson School of Management at Willamette University. Although that program is currently accredited by NASPAA, a school representative said that an initial denial was overturned only upon presentation of a document from the 1980s in which AACSB and NASPAA agreed to jointly accredit generic schools of management. An interviewee from another institution commented: There have been [accreditation] problems with schools and situations in the past that got dinged because they weren t uniquely public administration enough. You know what I mean, they kind of blended programs and you know, it was like an MBA with an emphasis in public management. A second way that accreditation dynamics can have an impact is more indirect. Where the programs are co-located, the MBA program, as the school s premier program, tends to draw attention and resources away from the MPA program. Although NASPAA does not express a preference regarding school location, it does emphasize the need for adequate resources. If a program s resources are being poached in favor of the MBA due to rankings or accreditation pressures, NASPAA may recommend an alternative configuration. One interviewee commented as follows: A NASPAA accreditation committee said that the school should leave the College of Business because (a) the mission of the college has been narrowed..., (b) the budget starvation and shifting of resources entirely to the business side, and (c) the dean s lessened interest in the good fit that had always been perceived as a good fit. The relatively recent practice of ranking MBA programs has also created an impediment to positive relationships between business schools and public administration programs. Multiple participants reported that rankings are a major concern for many business school deans, even when achieving a high ranking is unrealistic due to location or resources. DeAngelo, DeAngelo, and Zimmerman (2005) call this phenomenon rankings myopia, which is the 250 Journal of Public Affairs Education

13 PA Departments and Business Schools: Allies or Aliens? direction of resources to MBA programs in order to improve rankings at the expense of other programs and research (p. 1). One interviewee referenced a preoccupation with rankings and a resultant poaching of resources as having precipitated the public administration program s exit from the business school: Then we got a new dean and that was about the same time when people were becoming much more aware of program rankings in the U.S. News and World Report and those kinds of things. The new dean made it very clear that his focus was on the MBA program and was quite effective in pooling together any other resources that he found that could be spared around the college. Mitigating Adverse Aspects of the Arrangement/Taking Advantage of Positive Aspects of the Arrangement At some universities, the public administration program and business school have been able to overcome barriers and develop a positive, productive relationship. One vital component of such a relationship is recognition by members of the non-pa faculty of the value that public administration brings to the school. For example, in some schools, public administration is viewed as adding value by virtue of the access to and support of key public officials that it facilitates. This kind of access is especially relevant in public universities. One participant from a public administration program currently located in a business school explained the importance of such connections as follows: On the other hand, they also appreciate that we bring a lot to the table in terms of access to government officials, in terms of access to people [throughout] the community, throughout the state. We can probably introduce them to many more people than some of the MBA people can. And we do. So in that sense, they see us as a positive, as a strength. Hearn and Anderson (2002) found increased conflict relating to promotion and tenure decisions in departments in low-consensus fields and suggested that a lack of shared, core beliefs may produce conflict in such decisions at the college level as well. However, we found a very moderate level of promotion and tenurebased conflict involving faculty in public administration programs located within business schools. Two conditions appear to mitigate any conflict: high autonomy afforded the public administration programs regarding promotion and tenure criteria and decisions, and college-level agreement on appropriate promotion and tenure criteria. A participant from a public administration program that left a business school described the autonomy the department was allowed in promotion and tenure decisions: Journal of Public Affairs Education 251

14 L. N. Bowman & J. R. Thompson I won t say it was just a ratification by the dean, but there was a huge presumption that public administration knew what it was doing and that it was persuasive when it [cast] something up and didn t casually put people forward that were undeserving. So it was a strong presumption that the dean would [bless] the proposal. One way that a few public administration programs bring value to their respective schools of business is by teaching ethics courses for business students. A participant who is a faculty member in a public administration program currently located in a business school described this role as follows: If anything, the joke is because we service all the ethics classes that we re the conscience of the business school. Another mechanism for facilitating a positive public administration business school relationship is to have public administration faculty serve in college-level administrative positions. Having representation at the college level ensures that the public administration program, which is generally much smaller than businessrelated departments, has a voice in decision making and is able to protect its interests. In one business college, a member of the public administration faculty held the position of associate dean; in another, a member of the public administration faculty served as head of the college-wide strategic planning committee. One interviewee noted that their program lost the position of associate dean before making a decision to leave the business school: The first years we were there, the head of the school [of public administration] also had as his title, associate dean of the college of business. I always thought that was helpful and important. Another avenue for protecting the interests of public administration is to achieve some level of structural autonomy for the program, such as by creating an institute or school of public administration. Table 1 reveals that this is a fairly common arrangement; examples include the Romney Institute at Brigham Young University, the Public Administration Institute at Louisiana State University, and the Institute for Public Service at Suffolk University. This arrangement helps promote autonomy in other aspects of the public administration program such as course offerings and budget. Some public administration programs are able to move beyond simply mitigating the negative facets of their relationship with their business schools to actually taking advantage of their circumstances. One area ripe for collaboration is in nonprofit management. At Brigham Young University, the Marriott College of Business and the Romney Institute of Public Management work together to deliver courses for a minor in social innovation for graduate students. Similarly, at the University of North Dakota, the public administration program teaches a social entrepreneurship course for both MBA and MPA students, and business and public administration faculty co-teach a course called Government and Business. Joint programs in social entrepreneurship and health care management are increasingly prevalent as well. 252 Journal of Public Affairs Education

15 PA Departments and Business Schools: Allies or Aliens? Discussion Two alternative configurations of relationships between public administration programs and business schools are identified for heuristic purposes. One configuration, in which the programs engage in a symbiotic relationship, is labeled the harmonious relationship model. Another configuration, characterized by very limited interaction between the two programs, is labeled the cohabitation model. Table 2 presents the defining characteristics of each model. Table 2. Public Administration Programs in Business Schools Models Cohabitation Little if any course sharing Intermittent formal and informal discussions of secession Indifference/hostility of business faculty Little collaboration on research between faculties Establish sources of support outside school (via donors, alumni, university administrators) Harmonious Relationship Some sharing of courses Secession not at issue Widespread acceptance of public administration by business faculty Routine collaboration of on research between faculties Dean supportive of the MPA program The harmonious relationship model is marked by a high level of interaction and cooperation between the business school and the public administration program. The school and the program create joint programs and share courses, taking advantage of their proximity. The business faculty recognize and accept the value of a public administration program as well as the public sector in general. One participant from a public administration program currently in a business school related an instance that embodies this attitude as follows: At first it looked like he [the dean] was trying to move it [public administration] out of the school so that it would be a pure business school. And in fact, there was an explicit backlash from a small but vocal segment of the business faculty of the school saying, How dare you suggest that you re going to break up the school? That department is an integral part of what makes us a success as a school. A participant from a business program where the public administration program is located in the business school explained how faculty there view public administration and business as complementary: Journal of Public Affairs Education 253

16 L. N. Bowman & J. R. Thompson There is a recognition among our faculty [that] the public sector private sector interface is so crucial to the success of business and the success of society, really. And having this within our own ranks, within our own colleagues, is extremely valuable in terms of our intellectual breadth. The support of the dean of the business school is also a major component of the harmonious relationship model, because the dean can play a central role in keeping the public administration program an integrated and valued part of the school. This sentiment was exemplified in a quote from a public administration participant whose program has left a business school: So that s a crucial element in my view, if you say how can it go well and how can it not go so well, I would say 85% of the answer is the attitude of the college of business dean. The most significant feature of the harmonious relationship model is that both parties are able to reap advantages by the location of the public administration program in the business school by collaborating on joint programs, through research partnerships among faculty, and through course sharing. The cohabitation model is marked by very little interaction between the public administration program and the school of business. Courses are not shared, business faculty do not conduct research with public administration faculty, and relations between the two faculties are marked by indifference or hostility. One participant from a public administration program currently located in a business school cited treatment consonant with this model: I think we would be considered somewhat of a redheaded stepchild... we feel we re treated a little bit as an outsider, and perhaps don t get the full slate of resources that we think we deserve. As noted earlier, many participants reported that business faculty do not value the public sector or recognize public administration as a field that belongs in a school of business. One participant from a public administration program that has left a business school commented that what we enjoyed or suffered was benign neglect. Participants whose programs fit this model also said that they often looked to external sources for support for their program, including university-level administrators and politically connected alumni. The idea of removing the public administration program from the business school is discussed with some regularity by either the business school or public administration faculty, or both. It is important to note, however, that this type of relationship is not always marked by hostility; some programs are instead provided a great deal of autonomy and simply operate with a minimal level of interaction with business programs and faculty. A participant from a public administration program that is currently located in a school of business explains that this relationship came about naturally for his program: 254 Journal of Public Affairs Education

17 PA Departments and Business Schools: Allies or Aliens? It just happened to historically evolve, that separate but equal philosophy became very entrenched there. Graduate-level resources are the most sought-after resources and so by keeping it separate it tends to keep the discussion down. And there just has not been a history of cooperation at the graduate level. But the separate but equal policy has just generally kept it relatively even steven. Conclusion To an outsider, the logic of merging the business and public administration programs may appear compelling. A central finding from our study, however, is that although these combinations can work, the presence of multiple, systemic factors makes for an awkward relationship. One such factor is simply the disparity in size that tends to exist between the two programs; public administration faculty commonly are outnumbered by an 8:1 or 9:1 ratio. In conjunction with the cultural and value differences noted earlier and the higher stature accorded the MBA degree, there is a natural tendency for the public administration department to become marginalized. We were struck that even at institutions where a harmonious relationship generally has prevailed or does prevail, the question of whether the public administration program should relocate arises regularly. It is important, however, to note that we observed a correlation between school stature and program compatibility. Specifically, inter-program tensions tend to be higher at second-tier programs than at third-tier programs (where the second-tier is defined as lower-ranking research universities and the third tier as teaching universities). At the teaching universities, less priority is assigned to considerations such as MBA rank, which, as we noted, can work to the detriment of the public administration program. At second-tier universities, in contrast, pressures on the dean to improve program ranking as a means of distinguishing the MBA from those of other second-tier schools can be intense. A key question in assessing the advantages and disadvantages to public administration of being located within a business school is, Compared to what? Considerations of value compatibility highlight the advantages of being located within schools of public affairs. Less clear is that a location in, for example, a college of arts and sciences is preferable to that in a college of business. At one of the institutions included in our study, the department of public administration migrated first from a college of business to a college of social and behavior sciences and then to a school of public affairs. A faculty member commented that there were tensions between public administration and other units within the college of social and behavioral sciences, as there had been between public administration and other units within the college of business. Many of non-pa faculty in the college of social and behavioral sciences, according to this informant, considered the applied Journal of Public Affairs Education 255

18 L. N. Bowman & J. R. Thompson research being done within the department of public administration as inferior to the more theoretical work being done elsewhere within the college. It is notable that interviewees at several institutions where relationships can be characterized as generally harmonious were cautious when asked if they would recommend a merger between public administration and a college of business at other institutions. For example, one public administration faculty member commented: As huge a fan as I am of our situation, I don t know if it could happen today spontaneously or forced because this was brought together and it s kind of grown into what it is.... But, talking about just the little bit that you ve mentioned, for example, your emphasis on grants, throwing those two together, I just don t know if those two kinds of cultures could come together [today]. A representative of a program that had left the business school, but whose reflections on that period in the program s history were generally positive, nevertheless noted recurring debates over whether the public administration program was appropriately situated, adding: I don t see this as a viable model anymore. I fought as good a defensive campaign as you could fight. I withstood 3 attempts to basically get rid of public administration in the business school, and now that I am out of it, it is a heck of a lot more fun playing offense than defense. Footnotes 1. Recent examples include disputes between the State of Arizona and the firm it contracted with to run its prisons and between the State of Indiana and IBM over a canceled welfare modernization contract (Ortega, 2012; Ritchie, 2012). 2. Interview questions are included as Appendix A. 3. Ten of the 15 PA interviewees indicated the presence of divergent cultures between PA and business (6 from programs currently in business schools, 4 from programs that once were but are no longer in business schools). 4. A summary of the incidence of the perceived advantages and disadvantages of being located within a business school is provided as Appendix B. 256 Journal of Public Affairs Education

19 PA Departments and Business Schools: Allies or Aliens? References Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). (2011, January 31). Eligibility procedures and accreditation standards for business accreditation (3rd ed.). Tampa, FL: Author. Allison, G. T. (1992). Public and private management: Are they fundamentally alike in all unimportant respects? In R. J. Stillman, III (Ed.), Public administration: Concepts and cases (5th ed., pp ). Boston: Houghton-Mifflin. DeAngelo, H., DeAngelo, L., & Zimmerman, J. L. (2005). What s really wrong with U.S. business schools? Retrieved from Frederickson, H. G., & Smith, K. B. (2003). The public administration theory primer. Cambridge, MA: Westview Press. Goldsmith, S., & Eggers, W. (2004). Governing by network: The new shape of the public sector. Washington: Brookings Institution Press. Hearn, J. C., & Anderson, M. S. (2002). Conflict in academic departments: An analysis of disputes over faculty promotion and tenure. Research in Higher Education, 43, Henry, L. (1995). Keeping business at bay. In Early NASPAA History. Retrieved from naspaa.org/about_naspaa/about/history.asp#keeping%20business%20at%20bay Henry, N. (1975). Paradigms of public administration. Public Administration Review, 35, Ingraham, P. W., & Zuck, A. (1996). Public affairs and administration education: An overview and look ahead from the NASPAA perspective. Journal of Public Administration Education, 2, Ira, K. (2009). Regulation is not the answer. Harvard Business Review, 87, Kettl, D. (2002). The transformation of governance: Public administration for twenty-first century America. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Leone, R. A. (1977). The real cost of regulation. Harvard Business Review, 55, Litchfield, E. (1956). Notes on a general theory of administration. Administrative Science Quarterly, 1, Mangan, K. S. (2002). The new arms race in business-school buildings. Chronicle of Higher Education, 48, A30. Martin, W.F. & Lodge, G.C. (1975). Our society in 1985 Business may not like it. Harvard Business Review, 53, Okunade, A. A., Wunnava, P. V., & Walsh, Jr., R. (1994). Charitable giving of alumni: Microdata evidence from a large public university. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 53, Ortega, B. (2012, February 15). Group: Facilities hard to oversee, aren t cost effective. Arizona Republic. Retrieved from O Toole, J., & Bennis, W. G. (2005). How business school lost its way. Harvard Business Review, 83, Pfeffer, J., & Fong, C. T. (2002). The end of business schools? Less success than meets the eye. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 1, Journal of Public Affairs Education 257

20 L. N. Bowman & J. R. Thompson Ritchie, C. (2012, February 28). State, IBM blame each other as trial involving Indiana s canceled welfare contract begins. Indianapolis Star. Retrieved from Salancik, G. R., & Pfeffer, J. (1974). The bases and use of power in organizational decision making: The case of a university. Administration Science Quarterly, 19, Scherer, R. F., Javagli, R. G., Bryant, M., & Tukel, O. (2005). Challenges of AACSB international accreditation for business schools in the United States and Europe. Thunderbird International Business Review, 47, Student Demographics. (2011, August 21). Chronicle of Higher Education, 58, The Profession. (2011). Chronicle of Higher Education, 58, Ventriss, C. (1991). Contemporary issues in American public administration education: The search for an educational focus. Public Administration Review, 51, Wiseman, R. (2011, August 21). Hunkering down, colleges rethink financial strategies. Chronicle of Higher Education, 58(1), 6 6. Wooldridge, B. (1987). Increasing the professional management orientation of public administration courses. American Review of Public Administration, 17, Yoon, B. M. (1968). Management discipline in a school of administration: A reappraisal in the public service. Academy of Management Journal, 11, James Thompson is an associate professor of public administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research focuses on change and reform in the public sector, the civil service and civil service reform, and human resource management practices in the public sector. Lauren Bowman is a PhD student in the Department of Public Administration in the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on gender and administration as well as public organizations and public management. 258 Journal of Public Affairs Education

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